21% of British startups plan to open a European office due to Brexit

Jason Trost SmarketsWIREDSmarkets CEO Jason Trost (right).

One in every five UK startups intends to open a European office due to Brexit, according to survey results published Tuesday by Silicon Valley Bank.

The technology bank’s annual “Startup Outlook Survey” — based on responses from 940 startup executives — aims to gauge startup perceptions on business conditions and Brexit, as well as fundraising, hiring, and policy issues.

It found that 21% of UK startups are planning to open up a new office in cities such as Berlin, Paris, and Stockholm, which are all trying to take on London’s Tech City.

At least five UK startups have moved to Berlin as a result of Brexit, according to an article in The Financial Times last November, which said 39 more were seriously considering the move.

The survey also found that around one in 10 (11%) UK startups are thinking of moving their headquarters away from the UK to another European country after the EU referendum.

1% of respondents said they were definitely going to move their HQ to Europe as a result of Brexit, while 5% said they were now thinking of moving their HQ outside of the UK and Europe.

London betting startup Smarkets is one of the companies starting to move to the US as a direct result of Brexit. The company, which classes itself as a peer-to-peer betting exchange and is expecting to post revenues in excess of £20 million for FY 2016, told Business Insider last September that it is planning to open a new office in a currently unknown US city early 2017.

The startup execs cited the following as their main Brexit concerns:

  • Lack of long-term opportunities for non-British employees in the UK (32%)
  • Harder to raise venture capital funding (21%)
  • Becoming more expensive to run a business (21%)
  • Getting harder to attract talent from across Europe (12%)
  • More difficult to sell into Europe (7%)

“The Brexit findings in our survey this year are compelling and we are pleased to bring some data to a conversation that has been largely anecdotal,” said Phil Cox, head of EMEA and president of Silicon Valley Bank’s UK Branch, in a statement.

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